CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, AUG. 17 -- President P.W. Botha launched an emotional attack today on domestic and foreign news organizations, accusing them of distorting his policies and pledging action against left-wing newspapers.
Speaking in Parliament, Botha renewed attacks on foreign television journalists but reserved most of his wrath for independently funded left-wing newspapers and free-lance agencies.
Botha said: "Most of these unashamedly support leftist and revolutionary groups. The entire matter concerning alternative media and alternative news agencies will have to be investigated and dealt with."
Botha did not specify what measures he envisaged. He has already severely restricted news coverage of political violence under a 14-month-old national state of emergency.
He alleged that journalists were distorting his government's policies and selectively reporting black political violence in order to bring South Africa into disrepute.
Botha attacked South Africa's commercial press for refusing to cooperate voluntarily with the government in curbing reports of the black revolt that began in 1984 in the country's townships. "Some sections of the newspaper industry in South Africa have continued as if they were out to urge the spirit of revolution along," he said.
Quoting from the editorials of one commercial newspaper, Botha said he was not prepared to name it. After each editorial attacking his government, he said, "It's a deliberate lie."
In this third major speech in a week, Botha did not refer to the eight-day-old strike by 300,000 black mineworkers, which has disrupted gold and coal mines that provide much of the nation's wealth.
The Associated Press added:
As the strike continued, leaders of the black miners' union asked Anglo American Corp., South Africa's largest mining company, to keep police out of mine compounds as a measure to curb violence during the nationwide strike. About 240 strikers have been injured and 200 arrested thus far during the work stoppage.
Leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers, who met for three hours at the invitation of Anglo American, also asked that mine security officers be confined to barracks, and that charges be dropped against arrested strikers. No agreement was reached, and the talks were adjourned until Tuesday.
The meeting between the union and company came hours after the collapse of a planned strike by a black union against Sasol, the state-run coal, oil and gas company. The union hoped 15,000 members would strike early today, but abandoned its plans after a clash Sunday between strike supporters and opponents in which at least one worker was killed and two injured. According to the union, Sasol organized groups of workers to attack strike supporters. The company denied it.